Campaigners' joy after HS2 leg through Rotherham is scrapped

Campaigners' joy after HS2 leg through Rotherham is scrapped

By Michael Upton | 18/11/2021

Campaigners' joy after HS2 leg through Rotherham is scrapped


The scrapping of HS2 through Rotherham brought jubilation among campaigners and MPs who have been battling against the controversial rail link.

The Government’s today announced its Integrated Rail Plan and confirmed the axing of the eastern leg of the high-speed rail route through the borough.

Sheffield will instead be served on existing lines and no new track will be laid between Sheffield and Leeds, prime minister Boris Johnson said.

It was an announcement to be savoured for residents who have campaigned to stop streets and countryside in Aston, Bramley and Mexborough being dug up for the massive infrastructure project.

Anti-HS2 campaigner Sandra Haith, from Bramley, said she was “elated” by the news and was planning to celebrate tonight.

“It’s been up and down ever since it started,” she said. “You’d read something that got you hopeful and then something else that brought you down again.

“It was only this week when some of the big news channels started talking about it that we thought there might be something in it.

“I have some friends coming round and there’s a bottle of champagne in the fridge we’re going to open.”

Sandra said the five years of campaigning had been worthwhile, adding: “I think the nagging, if you want to call it, has paid off. We have spent years presenting information that people didn’t want to listen to. But I think somewhere along the line some of it has got through.”

Sandra poured scorn on South Yorkshire leaders for continue to put up with a “less then optimum” option after the original route via Meadowhall was scrapped.

“All the four councils said it was not the best option so why did they go along with it?” she said.

“The eastern leg would have seen trains whizzing through from Birmingham to Leeds with no benefit to South Yorkshire.

“Why did they not just say we’re against it, give us the money instead to spend on things we really need?”

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford hailed the news as a “huge victory” for the area and said he had been campaigning on the issue since he was elected in 2019.

“The money saved from not building the HS2 2b arm can now be channelled into exciting alternatives which will improve connectivity in Rother Valley and across the north,” he said.

“I am pleased that the Government has listened to the voices of local residents and ignored the usual hyperbolic remarks from the regional mayors - Dan Jarvis, Tracy Brabin and Andy Burnham.

“Let us be clear, this project was never about ‘levelling-up’ when it was envisaged by the last Labour government – the gain for this project was for the large regional centres like Leeds and Manchester that have already benefited from huge investment over the last few decades.

“The small villages and towns of Rother Valley would gain zero benefit from this project.  

“Rother Valley does not need a high-speed rail line smashing through our countryside that we cannot access. We need better intra- and inter-regional links so that our young people in Maltby, Dinnington and Swallownest can access the same education, high-skilled jobs and training opportunities that those who live in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester already have easy access to.”




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